File:Portrait of Murasaki Shikibu.jpg|thumb||350px|Late 16th-century (Azuchi–Momoyama period) depiction of Murasaki Shikibu, by Kanō Takanobu
was a Japanese novelist, Japanese poetry#Age of Nyobo or court ladies|poet
at the Emperor of Japan|Imperial court
during the Heian period
. She is best known as the author of ''The Tale of Genji
'', written in Japanese language|Japanese
between about 1000 and 1012. Murasaki Shikibu is a descriptive name; her personal name is unknown, but she may have been , who was mentioned in a 1007 court diary as an imperial lady-in-waiting.
Heian women were traditionally excluded from learning Chinese characters|Chinese
, the written language of government, but Murasaki, raised in her erudite father's household, showed a precocious aptitude for the Chinese classics and managed to acquire fluency. She married in her mid-to late twenties and gave birth to a Daini...